with a daily devotion
Evening Meditations for July 23
Brethren, pray for us.—I THES. 5:25.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up. Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.—Always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
“Cleanseth,” says the text—not “shall cleanse.” There are multitudes who think that as a dying hope they may look forward to pardon. Oh! how infinitely better to have cleansing now than to depend on the bare possibility of forgiveness when I come to die. Some imagine that a sense of pardon is an attainment only obtainable after many years of Christian experience. But forgiveness of sin is a present thing—a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour. The moment a sinner trusts Jesus he is fully forgiven. The text, being written in the present tense, also indicates continuance; it was “cleanseth” yesterday, it is “cleanseth” today, it will be “cleanseth” tomorrow: it will be always so with you, Christian, until you cross the river; every hour you may come to this fountain, for it cleanseth still. Notice, likewise, the completeness of the cleansing, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”—not only from sin, but “from all sin.” Reader, I cannot tell you the exceeding sweetness of this word, but I pray God the Holy Ghost to give you a taste of it. Manifold are our sins against God. Whether the bill be little or great, the same receipt can discharge one as the other. The blood of Jesus Christ is as blessed and divine a payment for the transgressions of blaspheming Peter as for the shortcomings of loving John; our iniquity is gone, all gone at once, and all gone forever. Blessed completeness! What a sweet theme to dwell upon as one gives himself to sleep.
“Sins against a holy God;
Sins against his righteous laws;
Sins against his love, his blood;
Sins against his name and cause;
Sins immense as is the sea-
From them all he cleanseth me.”
Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor
1Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. 2For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” 3There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” 4And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. 5Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”
6I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them 8and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say. 9So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” 12Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised. 13I also shook out the fold11Hebrew bosom of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
14Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration22Compare Vulgate; Hebrew took from them with food and wine afterward forty shekels33A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18Now what was prepared at my expense44Or prepared for me for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
43Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: 44but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; 45that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. 46For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles the same? 48Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The Fool Says, There Is No God
To the choirmaster. Of David.
1The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
3They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
4Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the Lord?
7Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.